Asthma triggers frequently include:
- Allergens such as pollen, dust mites, cockroaches, molds and animal danders
- Irritants in the air, such as smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes and strong odors
- Medications, such as aspirin and acetaminophen
- Extreme weather conditions
Use Proper Asthma Medication
There are many effective medicines to treat asthma. Most people with asthma need two kinds: quick-relief medicines and long-term control medicines. Immunotherapy (allergy shots) can also be helpful.
Patients may be reluctant to take medication because of cost or the potential side effects. If you have such concerns, talk with your allergist. Your allergist will work with you to find the right medicine, or combination of medicines, to manage your asthma and will adjust the dosage based on your symptoms and control. The goal is to have you feel your best with the least amount of medicine.
Quick-relief medicines are taken at the first sign of symptoms for immediate relief:
- Short-acting inhaled beta2-agonists
Both types of drugs are bronchodilators, meaning that they expand the passageways into the lungs (the bronchi), allowing more air in and out and improving breathing. They also help to clear mucus from the lungs by enabling the mucus to move more freely and get coughed out more easily.
If you have exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), also known as exercise-induced asthma, your allergist may recommend that you use these medicines before exercise or other strenuous physical activity.
Quick-relief medicines can stop asthma symptoms, but they do not control the airway inflammation that causes the symptoms. If you find that you need your quick-relief medicine to treat asthma symptoms more than twice a week, or two or more nights a month, then your asthma is not well controlled.
Long-term control medicines are taken every day to prevent symptoms and attacks:
- Antileukotrienes or leukotriene modifiers
- Cromolyn sodium
- Inhaled corticosteroids
- Long-acting inhaled beta2-agonists (always administered with another asthma-related drug)
- Oral corticosteroids